Live poker vs online poker
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard this argument since I have been playing Texas Hold’em poker. Live poker players are better than online poker players. No, online poker players are better than live poker players. When does it end? Is there any truth on either side of this argument?
For as much as I am an advocate of online poker I still view live poker as the ultimate gauge of a player’s game. Live poker has all of the elements of poker unlike online poker. Live poker allows us to not only play the game in its purist form but also contains the element of human interaction. The fact of the matter is that no matter how well you play the game of poker, no limit in particular, you cannot read your opponent through a computer screen. Sure, betting patters are a part of the game we all are aware of and it certainly gives us a general idea of how people play. However, betting patterns are not nearly as good an indicator of a bluff or move as looking at a player’s demeanor or reaction during a hand.
This holds true in both cash games as well as poker tournaments. True, many of today’s top poker players have lucrative endorsements from various online poker rooms. However, almost to a man they say that live poker is still home to the best poker players in the world.
The first online poker rooms came on the scene a little over 10 years now. Planet Poker was the first real money online poker room to open its doors to online players and the rest is history after that. True, online poker has had its ups and downs since then with several rooms both coming and going but no doubt it is here to stay. Today many of the top professional poker players are also doing quite well online too. Phil Ivey, Patrick Antonious and Phil Hellmuth are just a few names that immediately come to mind. Each of these players has done well, although Hellmuth to a lesser extent, playing online poker but they also have reputations as killer live cash game players too.
Online poker is more like playing on astro turf. The game is much faster than its normal pace when it is played live. The betting is faster, pre-flop all-ins are much more frequent and patience is at a premium. It does have its advantages in that you do not see the mistakes in players playing out of turn. Dealers never misdeal a hand and the overall number of hands seen is greater. Online Texas Holdem poker has also spawned a number of its own great players too. Players like Tom Dwan, Patrick Antonious, Chris Mooreman and Jamie Fricke are just a few that have made millions playing online. Tom “Durrr” Dwan may be the best online cash game player ever. I know that sounds like a bundle to drop on a twenty-something but the fact of the matter is that Dwan has literally won millions of dollars player online poker as well as cashing and running deep in several major live poker tournaments.
Summing it up
I don’t know that any of can say that one genre of poker, online or live, is better than the other. In this writers opinion it all comes down to your own personal preference. As I stated earlier, I do believe that live poker is poker in its purist form and I doubt that many would argue that point but that is not to say that online poker players are irrelevant. If anything I believe we have all learned that online poker is not just here to stay but the players themselves have made a statement that they can compete with the best. Maybe it’s time for the naysayers to take a back seat and admit it. The game has changed and the gap that may have existed between online and live poker players is no more. Curtis Mayfield III